2012 New Year Declaration

Well, here we are.  It’s 2012…  The last year of the world (Yeah, right!)  What are we going to do with it?

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t like to set myself up to fail and that’s what I think New Year’s resolutions do for me.  But I’ve been thinking about what I want for this upcoming year.  Lot’s of things have come to mind of course.  Yeah, I’d like to lose weight… again.  Of course, I’d like to get back into the habit of going to the gym and get in better shape… again.  I’d like to get back on the blogging bandwagon…. again.  I don’t write here nearly as much as I should.  Not as much as I would like to.

I read a while back on Jen Lancaster’s blog that writing is a muscle and like with any muscle, you have to keep exercising it or that muscle get’s weak.  That makes perfect sense to me and I’ve experienced it first hand.  If I don’t write regularly, I find it harder to get back into the habit.  So I would like to write more.  Ideally every day, though that may be easier said than done.  I’m going to try though.  If you’re looking for me to make a “resolution” to write more, forget it.  I ain’t gonna do it!  But keep checking back, hopefully you’ll see more writing more often in the new year.  According to that fancy pants year-end review thing that WordPress put together and I posted yesterday, I had 69 new posts last year.  Sixty-nine new posts out of 365 days…  That seems kind of shameful to me.  This year, I hope, will be better.

Anyway, thinking about 2012…  I’d like to eat better.  Cook more, learn to make new, healthy, but interesting recipes.  I took some time during my stay-cation this past week to really clean up and reorganize my kitchen and I’m amazed.  I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but whatever.  When I looked at this apartment more than four and a half years ago, I liked it a lot.  The guy who lived here before me didn’t have a ton of stuff and the apartment wasn’t terribly cluttered.  I liked it (except for the inordinately small closet) and I was interested, but the thing that put me over the top, was the kitchen.  It’s not large, by any means, but what put me over the top was this beautiful kitchen with the black marble slap counters, the stainless steel appliances, the gas range and oven and the over-sized sink.  I didn’t notice until moving in that it didn’t have a microwave or a garbage disposal, but I owned my own microwave and I’ve managed to make do without the garbage disposal.  Over the years, the kitchen counters became a dumping ground.  I walk in the door with my mail in my hands and I walk straight into the kitchen where I dump everything on the counter.  For months now, I’ve had so much clutter on my kitchen counters, that I had only one small section of counter space to do my chopping and mixing and plating.  My kitchen was no longer my friend.  The other day, I took some time to go through the stuff on the counters and put a lot of it away.  I threw a lot of things away and some additional stuff that I haven’t used, but I’m not ready to part with, got boxed up and taken down to the garage. I now have a wide open and beautiful kitchen I’ve regained the ability to appreciate.  Now it’s time to make proper use of it again!  I’ve even been remarkably consistent about putting dishes in the dishwasher the moment I’m finished with them, instead of piling up dishes in the sink and on the counter before they finally get into the dishwasher.  Yay me!  🙂

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about the kinds of things I want to accomplish this year, and there’s one thing I keep coming back to more than anything else.  I want my book to be published.  So instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I’m making ONE 2012 New Year’s Declaration, by the end of this year, barring unforeseen, and very positive intervention, The Teacher, by Kevin Riggs, will be published in one form or another.  (And that does not include matchbook sized Christmas Tree decorations.)  I have very high hopes for some sort of successful deal with a real publishing company, but barring positive results of that endeavor, I will self publish this book before the year is out.  Stay tuned!

On Being Published

Speaking of sentimental and thoughtful gifts…

Karin walked into my office today and handed me a small blue tube-box with sparkly blue ribbon tied around it and said, “I wanted your book to be published.”

Karin is one of my biggest supporters, as far as my writing is concerned.  We’ve talked at length about my book, tentatively titled, “The Teacher”.  She’s only seen what I’ve posted here on this blog, plus one additional chapter.  She’s chomping at the bit to read more and I get no small amount of pleasure out of tormenting her by dangling tidbits in front of her but not letting her see the rest.

It is thanks to Karin and people she knows, who know people, that I am going to be attending he writers workshop/class/group/thingy in February that I hope will give me greater insight into my writing ability, this book and the industry in general.  I’m treating this workshop (or whatever it is) as a step in the process to publication.  I hope that turns out to be true.

Anyway, Karin is a huge supporter and she wants to see my book published, which led her here.

I opened the blue tube-box with sparkly blue ribbon tied around it and turned it on end.  It’s contents slid into the palm of my hand, wrapped in simple tissue.

Karin found a store on Etsy.com that makes these:

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It’s a Christmas tree decoration, about the size of a matchbook, with a cover page (I guess it has to be titled The Teacher, now!) and the first sentence of my book printed inside, and it is bound, hard cover.  I love it!

And it gave us an idea.  Somewhat accidentally, I began work on my second novel, (I know, go figure!) yesterday.  Perhaps, I can get one of these ornaments made for every book I write.

What do you think?  Will “The Man With Too Many Names” fit on one of those teeny tiny pages?  🙂

Getting Real

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The Editing Stage

So, I finished the first draft of my novel on the day after Thanksgiving.  Many, MANY moons ago, I printed out a hard copy of what I had already done (less than half the finished work) and started editing those pages.  I got through ten chapters before I put that down and didn’t look at it again.  Eventually, I went back to writing with a renewed vigor and determination (and another round of NaNoWriMo to motivate me.)  Since I finished the first draft I decided to go back through those old edits and update the soft copy before I did anything else.  Interestingly, many of those edits had already been done in the soft copy, which tells me, not only that I did them during some other burst of editing, but also that I was on the right track since I thought the same thing more than once.

I finished that last week.

Today, I have before me a completed, fully printed, hard copy of the book; 416 pages, 208 sheets of paper.  And you know what?  For the first time, it looks real.  All double spaced and Times New Roman-y, just the way an agent/editor/publisher wants it.  It feels kinda strange…  Good!  But strange…

My next step is to go through the hard copy, with a red pen, and hopefully a clear, unbiased mind and edit it again.  I know there are sections that need work.  I know that there will be rewrites to be made, but I’m pretty excited about this process all the same.

I’m officially signed up to participate in a writers workshop, starting in February.  There will be real, published, accomplished authors in this group.  To say that I feel out of my depth and a bit self-conscious would be an understatement.  But the leader of the workshop, a published author herself, has already given me very positive feedback on the few pages I sent her last week and I can’t wait to hear more (even if some of it is constructive criticism and not accolades…  accolades would be nicer though…)  😉

The End

Well, I have some bad news.

I’m not going to be a NaNoWriMo “winner” this year.  You have to finish in order to win…  and in order to finish you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days (this is probably old news to most of you.)

A few weeks ago, I said, that I was going to use NaNoWriMo to work on my book that I’ve been writing for the last three-ish years.  It was kinda of rocky going for a while, with more days of no writing than there were writing.  But this week while on my stay-cation, I hunkered down and worked diligently on the book and had three days were I wrote extremely large numbers of words.  And still I’m not going to be able to finish NaNoWriMo…

Because I finished my book.

Turns out, there were only 34,366 words left to write.

This is, of course just the first draft and now I have to go through and edit, so this project is far from over…  But…

I finished my book!

NaNoWriMoSoMo

First of all, that sounds like something a Judoon would say.

For those of you who’ve been around here for a while, you can probably guess what most of that means (what I wrote, not what the Judoon said.)  Yes, it’s November again, and that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.  This is the month each year when so many people take the month to write 50,000 words.  Fifty thousand words in 30 days.

Well, I’m taking advantage of this time to continue – and hopefully finish – my book that I’ve been working on for several years now.

So for me that makes this NaNoWriMoSoMo or National Novel Writing Month Some More.

You may recall that last November I was busy with school and every spare moment I had was spent studying and practicing and riding along and hospital shifting and generally making myself crazy.  Not a moment could be spared for book writing.  To make up for that I had intended to take a month, June I think it was, to have my own private NaNoWriMo but that didn’t work out too well.  I’m fresh off a solid six weeks of having to work for my pay – something about which I do not approve – and should have more time on my hands now.

I figure 22 days because I barely have time for writing on the week-ends and in 22 days I need to have written 2273 words a day to make the 50,000 words mark.  Of course if I happen to have finished my book in fewer than 50,000 words, then I’ll be OK with not finishing NaNo but that remains to be seen.

I’ll try to post some blog posts here and there as the spirit moves me as well, but for the next little while, I want to focus on my book and hopefully finish the first draft!

Wish me luck!